Sunday, August 23, 2009

Rael Makes It Official, He's Running for Lieutenant Governor

On Sunday, Lawrence Rael, Executive Director of the Mid-Region Council of Governments (MRCOG), formally announced his candidacy for the office of Lieutenant Governor for the State of New Mexico.

Rael, made the announcement at the Albuquerque Isotopes baseball park at 5:30pm. He chose the "lab" because he believes the park is a testament to his long public service career. He served three consecutive mayoral administrations and was responsible for bringing baseball back to the Duke City after the Albuquerque Dukes left town.

He told us he's prepared to become president of the senate if he's elected because he knows how to balance billion dollar budgets, bring people together and how to make hard decisions.

Rael told us his top issue will be education and reducing the high dropout rates in the state. He also said that he understands that government officials have to earn back the public trust by acting ethically.

Rael said he "politely" disagrees with one of his opponents about rolling out ethics reforms incrementally. "If you want to be a leader, then you have to lead," said Rael.

Rael faces a crowded field for the 2010 Democratic Party nomination. Former party chairman Brain Colon is preparing to enter the race and has a fundraiser planned for August 31st at the Hotel ABQ. State Senators Linda Lopez and Gerald Ortiz y Pino have already started campaigning. Freshman Senator Tim Eichenberg is also traveling the state exploring his options for the race. Last week former Santa Rosa Mayor Joe Campos said he was running and Santa Fe County Sheriff Greg Solano has been in the race for months. Military veteran Matthew Padilla also announced he's seeking the nomination. And we've heard former New Mexico Department of Health Secretary Michelle Lujan Grisham is also looking at the race.

All the candidates will be competing for at least 20 percent of the vote, at next year's pre-primary nomination convention, to automatically be placed on the June primary ballot. Candiates with less than 20 percent will have to gather enough qualifying signatures to be added to the ballot.

Rael, who's has been in public service in New Mexico for 25 years, said the decision to run for Lieutenant Governor was influenced by the support he has received from people around the state and from some early fundraisers.

Rael said he's running because he understands the state is facing tremendous challenges, but that he also see opportunities for new leaders they can trust:
I am running for Lieutenant Governor because New Mexicans need a leader they can trust who has a proven track record and a demonstrated ability to bring people together to tackle problems and provide real solutions,” Rael said. “I believe that I have shown that leadership, and that together we can build a better New Mexico.
Rael served as the Deputy Secretary of Transportation under former New Mexico Governor Toney Anaya and as an Aide to Senator Jeff Bingaman. He also served as Chief Administrative Officer for the City of Albuquerque through three successive mayoral terms. He currently serves as Executive Director of the Mid-Region Council of Governments, a multi-county organization that assists in a variety of planning services ranging from transportation and land-use to workforce and economic development.

As a city administrator, Rael said projects he spearheaded created results for New Mexican families:
We successfully built programs that revitalized educational and family-oriented facilities such as Balloon Fiesta Park, Explora Science Center, the Albuquerque Aquarium and Botanic Gardens, and the Isotopes Baseball Park.
More recently as Executive Director of the MRCOG, Rael was the driving force behind the New Mexico Rail Runner Express. The New Mexico Rail Runner Express has become the fastest start-up of a commuter rail project in the country in the last 20 years. The project required working with more than 19 tribal and county governments, and creating partnerships necessary for the New Mexico Rail Runner Express’ successful completion. The Rail Runner demonstrates Rael’s ability to build consensus while respecting the diverse cultures of New Mexico.

For more information or to be part of Rael’s campaign for Lt. Governor please visit

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